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This term is a blend of mechanics and electronics, which describes its subject area pretty exactly. It’s a cross-disciplinary combination of mechanics, electronics, electrical engineering and computing — in essence the use of microelectronics to control mechanical devices. Since the majority of machines we use today contain embedded electronic control systems, mechatronics specialists can be involved with the design and construction of a huge range of equipment: video recorders and washing machines, traffic control systems and anti-lock brakes, medical scanners and artificial organs, photocopiers, automatic production systems, industrial robots and computer-controlled machine tools. The word, though relatively new, is now common in the field but it is as yet rarely seen outside universities and other specialist groups. A more formal term for the discipline is mechatronic engineering, which employs the singular form mechatronic as an adjective. As with many other similar terms, mechatronics is usually treated as a singular noun.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 10 May 1997

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-mec1.htm
Last modified: 10 May 1997.